In 1979, Mike Overton was living in Burlington, Vermont, on the shores of Lake Champlain — one of North America’s best inland windsurfing locales. One chilly spring evening, he and a friend hatched a plan to leave wintry New England and start a windsurfing school on Hilton Head Island. In early summer, Overton loaded up a truck and headed south to establish Sailin’ Shoes Windsurfing. Named after a Little Feat song, the school later became Windsurfing Hilton Head.
Hilton Head Business
COMPETITION FUNDS FEMALE ENTREPRENEURS
On the ABC reality show “Shark Tank,” budding entrepreneurs present business ideas to titans of industry in an effort to convince them to invest in the proposals. Recently, Hilton Head Island was the setting for a similar competition called “Biz Pitch,” part of the Thrive Lowcountry Women’s Conference on Sept. 26.
Ten women gave four-minute “elevator pitches” to a panel of seven judges — members of the local business community — and then answered follow-up questions. Winners Karen Balerna, Amy Shippy, Katherine Reeves and Jessica Lowther took home a combined $8,500 in cash and prizes to expand or start their businesses.
Starting over in a new land
THE LITERACY CENTER HELPS NEWCOMERS GAIN SKILLS
In Venezuela, Javier Campos was a petroleum engineer and Karla Losada was a lawyer.
When they decided to move to the Lowcountry two years ago with their two children, they knew they wouldn’t easily step into the same professional lives.
LOWCOUNTRY ATTRACTS REMOTE WORKERS
Advances in technology have made it possible for many professionals to work from almost anywhere. For those looking to keep their jobs but get away from the hustle and bustle of the big city, life on Hilton Head Island and in Bluffton can look very appealing: shorter commutes, lower costs of living and the slow pace of the Lowcountry lifestyle.
John Taylor, an economist with Black & Veatch Management Consulting, moved to Hilton Head in 2016 after spending most of his career as a remote worker. He said the area suited his desire to create a greater balance between his work and personal life.
OUR CURRENT IMMIGRATION POLICIES’ IMPACT ON THE LOWCOUNTRY
At its heart, the U.S. is a country of immigrants. According to the last U.S. Census, just 3.08 million — or 1% — of the roughly 330 million Americans can claim Native American ancestry. No, almost all of our ancestors came from somewhere else — America truly is a great “melting pot.”
To let us better understand today’s immigration policy, it might be instructive to review how our nation has viewed immigration over the years. For much of our nation’s history, we have encouraged free and open immigration. It wasn’t until the General Immigration Act of 1882 that the United States first blocked or excluded the entry of “idiots, lunatics, convicts and persons likely to become a public charge.” Between 1900 and 1920, we admitted approximately 14.5 million immigrants to help fill the jobs created during the Industrial Revolution. It was during this wave of mass immigration that additional provisions were added, including the requirement that immigrants be able to read and write in their native languages and pass medical examinations. Fast-forward to the post-World War II years and the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 — and its amendments in 1965 — which removed racial barriers and promoted reuniting immigrant families, now known as “chain migration.”
Our area is one of the fastest growing areas in the state, with new residents moving in every day. To kick off our annual City Guide issue, Monthly asked the mayors of Hilton Head Island, Bluffton and Hardeeville to share thoughts with them:
Thirty Years on the High Seas
SOUTH CAROLINA YACHT CLUB CELEBRATES ITS ANNIVERSARY IN STYLE
Thirty years ago, a big celebration marked the start an organization that has helped define Hilton Head Island’s way of life.
“What began as a dream with bricks and mortar has taken on a living presence as the crown jewel of Windmill Harbour,” said South Carolina Yacht Club founder J.R. Richardson. “Leslie and I feel as though South Carolina Yacht Club is our child. We were married April 1, 1989, and three months later on July 1,1989 we opened.”
The Ears Have It
GO INSIDE THE WORLD OF MR. BEN AND HIS AMAZING PET PRODUCTS
From the outside, you’d almost never know it was there. One of a handful of mostly serviceoriented businesses in a low-lying commercial park off of a back road in Ridgeland, the world headquarters of Mr. Ben’s Amazing Pet Products is remarkably inconspicuous from the road. But this nondescript industrial space is the launching point for Benjamin Preisner’s global empire of pet products.
Taking a toll
ISLAND DRIVERS BEMOAN TWO YEARS OF REMAINING TOLLS
On summer Saturdays, traffic stretches from the Cross Island Parkway’s toll booths in both directions on Hilton Head Island. The toll will disappear in two years, but for those who drive it every day, this a long time to wait behind drivers who fumble for change and ask the attendants for directions.
Four generations of power
FAMILY TIES SUSTAIN ELECTRICAL MANUFACTURING AND CONSULTING FIRM
In 1938, Al Traver Sr. took a gamble on his family’s future that would eventually lead them to Hilton Head Island. With the Great Depression at its peak, he left behind a job as a factory worker to set out his shingle as a manufacturer of electric motors in Waterbury, Connecticut. More than 80 years later, Traver IDC has grown to include 49 employees doing everything from consulting on energy conservation to providing electrical supplies. And just as they did on day one, they still manufacture electric motors.